On the possibility of doxastic venture: A reply to Buckareff

Religious Studies 41 (4):447-451 (2005)
In response to Buckareff, I agree that it is indeed impossible intentionally and directly to acquire a belief one judges not to be supported by one's evidence. But Jamesian doxastic venture does not involve any such direct self-inducing of belief: it is rather a matter of an agent's taking to be true in practical reasoning what she already, through some ‘passional’, non-epistemic, cause, holds true beyond the support of her evidence. To deny that beliefs may sometimes have passional causes is, I argue, purely a rationalist dogma. I do concede to Buckareff, however, that a venture of faith might sometimes be sub-doxastic, in the sense that full practical commitment is made to faith-propositions without actual belief. That concession requires only a minor modification, however, to a doxastic-venture model of faith.
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